Thursday, June 30, 2022

Gentle Renn

My big boy, Renn, is a gentle fellow. He is easily intimidated by other cats and prefers peace and quiet to go undisturbed. The sounds he makes have always been low and soft, even when giving his characteristic drawn-out warning of something he doesn’t like (such as a trimming of the bum-hair.)

I noticed some time ago that he will often doze in this posture. To me, it looks like a bird, tucking his head back into his feathers. Renn doesn’t sleep like this, but as he slips from waking to slumbering, and maybe back again, he will lie as if demurely embarrassed. I think this symbolises my old friend’s character.

Monday, June 27, 2022

Why My Chores Some Days Take Forever

Almost exactly three years ago, I published a blog-article depicting the reason why, one day, I couldn’t make my bed until two o’clock in the afternoon.

Cammie is no longer with me. But, evidently, the comfort of an unmade bed is still great. Here are my boys impeding my household chores one morning last week.

And, because the lady of the household was not present on the bed, and because Katie Isabella wanted to see a better picture of Minuet’s face, here she is, from the same day. And I had to wait until she moved to vacuum the library’s couch.

Saturday, June 25, 2022

Farewell to Idylland

Though I still have Sunday off, my holidays, strictly speaking, ended on Friday. I will be back to work on Monday. While this is rather regrettable, I must write that I enjoyed my vacation.

The most important feature of my holidays is having time. Everything that I need to do each day isn’t squeezed into the abbreviated period between coming home from work and going to bed. What hours aren’t absorbed by work each weekday are taken up by chores at home, leaving little leisure time. My weekends are occupied principally by what I wasn’t able to accomplish during the week.

But during my holidays, I can take time; if I spend an afternoon doing something, I needn’t worry: I will have more time the next day. As the years have gone by, I have felt and appreciated this aspect of my holidays more and more. This contrasts distinctly with the feeling I have even on weekends.

Thus, the days I spent in Idylland were a pleasure. The lush water-meads, the verdant forests, the purple hills beyond; the small villages; the seashore, sandy here and rocky there; it was all most relaxing, even if – or perhaps because - they were only in the imagination.

Life returns to normal now, though I shouldn’t feel discouraged: after all, there are only forty-nine more weeks until my next holiday!

Thursday, June 23, 2022

Always the Lady

Among the problems that were ascribed to Minuet when she was given up by her previous owner was – along with the non-existent diabetes and the inappropriate wetting, which has been solved – her absence of grooming. This was, it turned out, a falsehood.

To be generous, I can blame the belief that Min doesn’t, or didn’t, groom herself to the fact that her bum sometimes needs cleaning. But she is nineteen years old – over ninety in human terms. While I wonder about such comparisons, since veterinarians rate a cat as senior at the equivalent of forty human years, the truth is that a nineteen year old cat borders on the ancient, and if she is not as supple at that point in her life as she was a decade before, it is understandable.

Minuet nonetheless does groom herself. She tries her best to clean her nether regions, washes her legs and feet, and is quite forceful about cleansing her face after she eats. This vigour is interesting. My other cats also clean their faces following meals, of course; it’s amusing to watch all of them engaged in the same hygienic activity a few minutes after breakfast or dinner. But I don’t think any of them is quite as determined about it as my very-oldster.

Could this be a feature of cats with the adorable smooshed-in countenance? When, for instance, Renn, with his big nose, eats, it is probably his snout that receives most of the debris from his meal. The same goes even for a cat with a more average proboscis, such as Hector. But surely Minuet, with her tiny nose in the centre of a relatively flat face, must have bits of food, or flavoured sauce, almost evenly distributed over that beautiful visage of hers.

It may be, of course, that she is just very conscientious, though I can’t help thinking that the shape of her face makes her dining a little less discreet than the average cat’s. In any case, even at nineteen, Madame intends always to look her best – and succeeds.

Sunday, June 19, 2022

Watching the World

One of Hector’s joys is to sit on a sunny day at the screen door to the ditch and watch and smell the outdoors. It’s an excellent vantage point because, despite its low altitude – at the bottom of a rectangular concrete basin, an observant cat can see all sorts of wildlife, especially birds. We have quite a variety coming by the Cosy Apartment’s windows; it helps if one scatters kernels of food on the lawn beyond the ditch. Here Hector is intent on the flight of a gull passing overhead.

Saturday, June 18, 2022

The Poker-face

Cats’ faces are very expressive, as anyone associated with cats will know. Their faces are probably a principal reason why we anthropomorphise these animals so strongly; it doesn’t help that much of the time when we assign emotions to certain feline expressions, we are probably right in our assumptions.

Take a look at this one.

Though Minuet remains for the most part in the library, she does venture out now and then. When the beasts are finished with their meals, I often leave remnants in a bowl near the kitchen for Hector to come by and clean up later. He almost always does. I leave the bowl by the kitchen because, its contents being made up of different varieties – the leftovers of others cats – they may not agree with Madame, and I thought her unlikely to come all the way to the kitchen to sample them. I was wrong.

Twice now, Minuet has come out of the library, spied the bowl on the floor and come over to eat. I was hesitant to remove it from her reach, as I did not want to discourage her in consuming what food was placed before her. I took a chance and let her eat. So far, there has been no adverse reaction. At least from Min.

Neville was another matter. Perhaps astounded that our oldest inhabitant was walking beyond the library, he evidently could not believe his eyes when he saw her. I was too late to record Minuet’s ‘al fresco’ meal, but not to capture what Nev thought of the episode.